Nutrition for Runners

2 Apr

This past Thursday night I went to a nutrition for runners seminar at Fleet Feet Sports here in Raleigh! Before I get to that part of this post- let me share with you what happened right before the seminar: Whole Foods bar. There is a Whole Foods right beside Feet Fleet, so naturally I fit that into my Thursday night plans as well :D

Anyways, back to the seminar. A registered dietician from a nutritional counseling group near by gave the seminar and I left with quite a bit of knowledge that I didn’t have before! The things that most surprised me during the seminar were in regards to hydration. I’m really, really, really bad about bringing water with me when I run. I hate running with a water bottle in my hand and I honestly kind of hate wearing my hydration belt too. I just feel like no matter what, it jiggles around and I just don’t like it! However, for every 1% of fluid lost during a run (or other exercise) your heart rate increases by 7 beats per minute. In addition, once you reach the point of being truly dehydrated during a run, there is really no way to drink your way back to hydration. It’s best just to call it quits at that point.

I also learned that you should consume 16-24oz of fluids for every pound of sweat lost during exercise and you do not need sports drinks (Gatorade) unless your activity will be longer than 60-90 minutes. Otherwise, hydrating with water is the best option. Another cool thing I learned was that the G2 Gatorade (the low calorie, low carb Gatorade) is NOT good for refueling during a workout. You need at least 14g of carbs to refuel your glycogen storage during a long run and the G2 Gatorade has less than that. However, consuming more than 19g of carbs to refuel could lead to an upset stomach. Regular Gatorade and Gu, Sports Beans, etc. have the optimal level of carbs for refueling during workouts so those are all great options!

We also went over a few natural sources of fuel during races or long runs. (as an alternative to Gu, Sports Beans, etc.) Some of these included: dates, raisins, frozen grapes and bananas, coconut water, watermelon dipped in salt, dehydrated fruit, natural honey, and making your own homemade gels like Gu or homemade baby food.

To make your own homemade gels: Combine: 7 1/3 T honey, 3/4 t black strap molasses, and 1/10 t of salt. Place in a small Ziploc bag and enjoy like you would a Gu or other gel!

To make your own homemade baby food: Just blend up any fruits/veggies you like so that it is easy to digest and pack it in Ziploc bags and suck it out like a gel when you are ready to fuel. She said that carrots, sweet potatoes, bananas, and apples all work great.

I think all of these natural foods seem like a great alternative to processed fuels like Gus, however, I’m not sure how they would taste or how practical it is to carry around slices of  salted watermelon during a long run or race..hmm. It would definitely be trial and error with all of these different foods, including Gu’s, Sports Beans, etc. because everyone’s body reacts differently to pre, during, and post workout fueling. One of the biggest points stressed during the seminar was to try a variety of pre, post, and during fueling sources to find what works best for you, and then stick with what works best on race day. Never try anything new on race day!

Aaaand right after this seminar on nutrition and healthy eating? Frozen Yogurt. Hey, she did mention the 80/20 rule… :D

Do you have any pre/post workout nutrition tips or advice that I forgot to mention? Please share!

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10 Responses to “Nutrition for Runners”

  1. notsodomesticated April 2, 2012 at 8:50 pm #

    I like the idea of finding natural sources of fuel while running! I really don’t like the flavor/texture of the gu’s and gels, so why not find some natural alternatives??

    • Maggie @ Running on Fro-Yo April 2, 2012 at 9:26 pm #

      I agree! I always think anything natural is better than the processed alternative. Although also usually more work which is why sometimes the processed route wins! haha :)

  2. eatingforexcellence April 3, 2012 at 10:17 pm #

    Wow sounds like a very informative seminar! Looks of great info…thanks for sharing :)

  3. Haley @ Health Freak College Girl April 4, 2012 at 1:16 pm #

    so jealous! that sounds like such an awesome seminar. i love the idea of making your own GU. i buy it now but it’s so expensive! plus then i know what’s going into it :)

  4. funfreshfit April 4, 2012 at 10:08 pm #

    Great post! So much helpful info, sounds like it was a great seminar!


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